UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Ft. Gibson

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland
Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw is on a pattern. Actually, two patterns. 

First, he’s dialed in on transitioning fall smallmouths here on Lake Cumberland, two days into the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. Upshaw is feeling so comfortable and confident right now that it looks like he has a great opportunity to solidify another pattern: winning on smallmouth reservoirs in the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky. 

Upshaw won the April 2019 FLW Tour event on Lake Cherokee with a smallmouth pattern. Tonight, he’ll go to bed with the day-two lead and one day to go on Lake Cumberland thanks to a 15-pound, 1-ounce limit that has him in first by 1-13 with 30 pounds total.

Complete results

It seems Southern smallmouths suit Upshaw.

“I have no idea why, but I wanna keep it going,” he says. “It’s been great. I love smallmouth, and I love fishing these types of reservoirs like Cumberland and Cherokee.

“I really enjoy them. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how they set up on cover, and I think that helps me a lot.”

Upshaw’s day actually started pretty slowly. He didn’t have a keeper until about 9:45. He wasn’t worried, though. 

“I didn’t start practice every day until 10 o’clock. I knew that first hour, hour and a half, was going to be slow, and if I caught one it was going to be a bonus fish,” Upshaw says. “I think the way they’re set up on what I’m fishing it’s a timing thing. I just had to be there at the exact right time every day. 

“And the thing is, I’m running a pattern. It’s not necessarily a spot. I found three or four other spots today that had them on it. All in all, I think I caught about 18 keepers today, and I was culling ounces and finally decided to lay off them.”

On a windy, rainy day one, Upshaw caught a few early fish on a buzzbait, then switched to fishing a Ned rig and a jig. Today, under high skies with little wind, he never bothered with the topwater. He went straight to his confidence baits.

“I kind of figured out how these fish are transitioning,” adds Upshaw. “The way they’re setting up on stuff; I have a lot of confidence on how they’re setting up, and I’m just really fishing slow and thorough. I think that’s a big key is really just taking my time, not getting ahead of myself and not really putting a lot of other things out there – just putting a couple rods in my hand and going fishing.”

Tomorrow, expect more of the same. Upshaw says the smallies were choking on his baits this afternoon – a sign that he’s got the right baits in front of the right fish with the right presentation.

“The way they’re set up, they’re actually more winter than they are fall. I just think I caught the head of it kind of like I did at Cherokee, and I think more are coming.

“If I can just go out there, put my head down and go fishing, I think I’ll be fine.”

 

Rob Burns

2. Rob Burns – Plano, Texas – 28-3 (10)

While most of the Costa FLW Series Championship field was on Cumberland practicing for this week’s tournament, Rob Burns was on a roof back home in Texas. He’s a roofing contractor, and a busy fall season had him preoccupied making money instead of dialing in the fish.

Apparently, though, it didn’t really matter, as Burns is fixin’ to make money here in Kentucky this week, too. He’s managed two consistent days of targeting Cumberland smallmouths to get into the final day in second place with 28 pounds, 3 ounces.

“Yesterday was my first day on the water. Yesterday I knew with the wind blowing and the rain it would be good for my style of fishing: reaction baits, covering water, trying to play the wind. So that’s what I did. I ran all the way down south and just kind of worked my way back up. 

“That’s pretty much what I did today. I’m pretty much using one bait. I picked it up yesterday. It’s traditionally good for me. It’s good at Table Rock. It’s good back in north Texas. The lake is set up for it. I had a whole bunch of other stuff rigged up, but it was working. I just covered miles of water today. I have a better idea of where they’re at, but there’s not a spot or anything like that. It’s more of a pattern.”

Burns knew what he wanted to do before he ever got here, but he’s still dialing in on the pattern, which mostly consists of fishing fast with his reaction bait near the mouths of major coves. His biggest hurdle is that he doesn’t know where to find similar water with the right kind of rocks. Because he couldn’t practice, he has to run around and look for it during the tournament. Once he finds it, he has to figure out whether the fish are out on the points, or up in the pockets. 

Tomorrow, if he can find enough or expand on what he’s seen already, Burns has shown his pattern can produce the kind of fish needed to catch Upshaw. 

 

Matt Pangrac

3. Matt Pangrac – Broken Arrow, Okla. – 26-10 (10)

Matt Pangrac feels like he left a few out there so far this week. The Oklahoma pro has weighed in 26 pounds, 10 ounces in two days, but he felt like he was on more and better fish.

“I made a long run yesterday. I thought they were going to really chew, and they bit for half an hour,” he says. “Then I fished for seven hours to try to catch three more. I caught a little spot on the way in. I thought I’d have all smallmouth.

“I didn’t expect it to work as well this morning. I’ve got a secondary deal going with a drop-shot, and I got down there and in the first 10 minutes I had two 3 1/2-pound smallmouths, so I just ran it with that and added a couple largemouths. I think I caught seven or eight keepers throughout the day.”

Overall, Pangrac has three patterns working. He spent the last day of practice specifically preparing for today, knowing there’d be sunshine and little wind. The drop-shot deal was part of that plan. The rest is all about power fishing. 

“To me this is a mix of Grand and Table Rock without the docks, and I just really like how those two lakes set up and fish. I feel like I kind of understand what’s going on and can look around and know that’s what I want to fish.” 

His challenge tomorrow is to finally figure out how to get more than two big smallmouth bites in one day. He was on the brown fish in practice, but has brought in smallies, spots and largemouths in the tournament. 

“I think that front that went through yesterday just kind of scattered them,” Pangrac adds. “I was seeing a lot more fish underneath the boat on the graph than I had been during practice. I think they kind of got back on the cover today where I could get them with the reaction bait or target them.”

 

Steve Floyd

4. Steve Floyd – Leesburg, Ohio – 25-11 (10)

The senior half of one of FLW’s best father-son tournament duos is Steve Floyd, father of Bethel University standout and fellow championship qualifier Cole Floyd. This week, Steve got the better of his son thanks to what has been the most consistent largemouth pattern of anyone in the tournament. 

In fact, had he not lost several key fish today, Steve might be neck-and-neck with Upshaw. He says he’s been fishing the way he likes to fish – in shallow water with power-fishing tackle.

“When I got to my first spot and put the trolling motor down, they were biting. I lost one right out of the gate on a topwater. Then I hooked one flipping and lost it,” says the Ohio pro. “I had another flipping bite that I saw it bite and missed it. Then I finally caught one. And then it kind of slowed down. It was a flipping kind of day. I just went and put my head down and flipped. With no wind and sunshine it was perfect for that. I think I had 10 keeper bites, and I landed five of them. Late in the day, I saw one 5-plus bite my bait, and I set the hook and it wrapped me up and I broke off.”

The former Kentucky Lake winner flipped yesterday as well, even though the conditions seemed perfect for reaction baits, which is what many of the pros fishing around him were using. In fact, there have been a lot of other anglers sharing water in the area. 

“There’s a lot of fish. It’s just that they get beat on. They get educated.”

If he can keep them hooked and have the water to himself on Saturday, there’s a chance for a really big bag of largemouths to make it to weigh-in in Burnside.

 

Rusty Salewske

5. Rusty Salewske – Alpine, Calif. – 25-7 (10)

Also on the smallmouth bandwagon is California’s Rusty Salewske, who’s weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces with a straightforward smallie pattern. 

“I found a lot of fish on bluff walls and points,” he says. “I’m just throwing a jig is all I’m doing. I had a lot of bites yesterday, but these smallmouths are so mean. I literally could have weighed in a 20-pound bag yesterday. I never caught a good one yesterday.

“Today was really tough for me. I broke off two in brush piles. I’ve got a little brush pile deal, too, that I check a couple times each day. Everything, even the brush pile fish, have been on the jig. I’m keeping the boat in about 35 [feet] and just covering water fast with a heavy jig – a 3/4-ounce jig.”

Salewske’s jig presentation is interesting. He fires the jig out and works it back with quick turns of the reel to make the jig dart off the rock then tick back to bottom. It’s a good alternative to dragging because it snags less and allows him to cover water faster. 

The fish have a weird habit of knocking his bait and not eating it, so Salewske waits until they fully load up to set the hook. If he can keep them pegged tomorrow and find that 20-pound bag he left out there on day one, he’s still got a chance at the W. 

 

Top 10 pros

1. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 30-0 (10)

2. Rob Burns – Plano, Texas – 28-3 (10)

3. Matt Pangrac – Broken Arrow, Okla. – 26-10 (10)

4. Steve Floyd – Leesburg, Ohio – 25-11 (10)

5. Rusty Salewske – Alpine, Calif. – 25-7 (10)

6. Laramy Strickland – Bushnell, Fla. – 24-13 (9)

7. Luke Plunkett – Pinson, Ala. – 24-11 (10)

8. Brent Algeo – Ozark, Mo. – 24-10 (9)

9. Travis Manson – Conshohocken, Pa. – 24-8 (10)

10. David Valdivia – Norwalk, Calif. – 24-1 (9)

Complete results

 

Mason Roach

Roach still ahead on co-angler side

Mason Roach maintained his lead in the co-angler division today and now has one day left to fish to earn the wire-to-wire victory. Roach says he's been fishing a finesse soft plastic on a heavy jighead for two straight days. Tomorrow, he'll be paired with Andrew Upshaw, the pro leader, who's also finesse fishing, and should have plenty of opportunities to put his go-to rig in front of fish.

 

Top 10 co-anglers

1. Mason Roach – Conroe, Texas – 21-5 (9) 

2. Jason Clark – Bixby, Okla. – 17-11 (8) 

3. Scotty Walton – Yukon, Okla. – 16-14 (7) 

4. Justin Leet – Bartlett, Tenn. – 16-6 (7) 

5. Dustin Robinson – Glendale, Ariz. – 15-12 (7) 

6. Josh Lockard – Somerset, Ky. – 15-7 (7) 

7. Michael Catt – Jacksonville, Fla. – 14-13 (6) 

8. Zack Freeman – Russellville, Ark. – 14-9 (6) 

9. Brian Campbell – Oxford, Ohio – 14-0 (6) 

10. Chad G Allison – Carl Junction, Mo. – 13-7 (5)

Complete results

Tags: curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2019-10-31-lake-cumberland 

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

You couldn’t choose just one word to describe Larry Nixon’s professional fishing career. But right now, if you had to try, the most applicable word might be “resiliency.” READ MORE »

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

We’re almost halfway through the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit schedule, which means we’re far enough along now for a little retrospective on what’s happened thus far. READ MORE »

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Ron Nelson, the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year leader and a renowned sight-fisherman, used a Keitech Swing Impact FAT for blind-fishing and sight-fishing at Martin and earned a runner-up finish. California’s Kevin Hugo took seventh at Lake Havasu and caught some of his biggest bass sight-fishing with a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish or Sunfish. Though the reasons why they settled on swimbaits varied, both pros can offer valuable lessons for any angler tackling a spawning scenario. READ MORE »

Abram’s Dream Comes True

Abram’s Dream Comes True

All week on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit the weights have been close, so it was only fitting that the final weigh-in followed suit. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram One Day Away

Abram One Day Away

Day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin was a bit tougher for the 30 pros on the water, and while quality has been tough to come by all week, that was especially the case today READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram Out Front on Martin

Abram Out Front on Martin

Same story, different day on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. When it comes to catching fish, Martin is on fire at the moment. However, just like on day one, big bites are tough to come by on the Alabama fishery. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Adams Leads at Martin

Adams Leads at Martin

Catching fish wasn’t going to be the issue for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin and after day one that certainly was the case. With the entire field catching a limit, the weights are stacked with a little over 4 pounds separating 100th and 10th. Finding a Lake Martin kicker was Barron Adams, who sacked 17 pounds, 2 ounces to take the lead – thanks in large part to his 8-13 Berkley Big Bass. Just 15 ounces back is Derrick Snavely and the weights tighten up a lot from there. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin kicks off a day early from Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the third stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW announced today that this week’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin, originally scheduled to start Thursday, has been shifted and will now begin competition Wednesday. Hosted by the Alexander City Chamber, the tournament will remain a four-day event and will now run through Saturday. This decision is based on a desire to allow pros, who began practicing for the tournament March 15, to safely complete the event and return home as quickly as possible amid evolving COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia. For his victory, Dice earned a total of $5,246. READ MORE »

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Cory Steckler of Rocky Mount, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. For his victory, Steckler earned a total of $13,457, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the second win of Steckler’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Graham Wins on Dale Hollow

Graham Wins on Dale Hollow

Brett Graham of Cold Spring, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mountain division opener at Dale Hollow Reservoir in Byrdstown, Tennessee. For his victory, Graham earned a total of $6,000. READ MORE »

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

If you weren’t already aware, you need to be paying attention to the name Jack Farage. This week, the Discovery Bay, Calif., co-angler won his fifth Toyota Series Western Division tournament since 2013 by catching 43 pounds, 3 ounces at Lake Havasu. For his latest win, Farage earned a Phoenix 518 Pro with a 115-hp Suzuki outboard. READ MORE »

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »